Just Because You Don't Want It!

Published: Nov 30 , 2015
Author: Alan Smith

A short but important lesson in this week’s blog.

The daughter of a friend of mine decided to buy a new fridge. One of those big fancy fridge's with an ice dispenser, flashing lights and a disco ball. I exaggerate a little (not that much to be honest), but you get the point.

Her issue was what to do with the old one?

Nothing wrong with it of course but as many things in todays world its time had passed and the obsolescence that drives our world meant it would have to go.

The daughter asked the supplier of the new fridge to take it away. They said sorry not possible. The fact that she asked them to take the old fridge away after she had paid for the new one and not as a final condition of the sale is an issue for a whole new and different blog.

Not to worry, she called the local council. They said that they would dispose of the fridge for her but that she would have to leave it out for the next refuge collection in the front garden.

She willingly obliged.

Two weeks later the fridge remained in its sorry state becoming a rather unpleasant feature in both her garden and the leafy suburban road. Curtains began to twitch and she became somewhat anxious of what the neighbours would think.

Another call to the council. Another promised collection. Another broken dream.

After 3 weeks of this she called her Dad, my chum. He thought carefully, decided against putting out his back by trying to shift it himself and came up with a cunning plan.

He told her to write a note saying £30 o.n.o. and attach it to said fridge. She did. Low and behold the next day the fridge had gone (although no money had changed hands).

The fascinating thing for me as a negotiator is that it is a common signature problem that we identify as being a reason why value is lost in deals. Just because it is easy for us to give the other side a concession we do without recognising the value it has for the other side.  If we fail to recognise that value then we should not be surprised when they fail to recognise that value too.

Much of the creative part of negotiation comes from items that have differentials between cost and value.  Find them, recognise them and use them.

Alan Smith


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Alan Smith
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Muck Shift

Just when is a deal not a deal…? I heard this story from a friend of mine the other week; there are some lessons to be learned! So, my pal is a developer and is building some houses on what is essentially a square site. Two sides of the square can be accessed from the road in a neighboring housing estate and the other two are beside a field owned by another developer. There is a huge pile of muck to shift before the actual building project; this phase is known in the trade – and not unreasonably - as a "muck-shift"! As there will be 80 -100 lorries coming in and out each day for 6 weeks, it was considered more convenient to access the site over the field, so an approach was made to the developer to discuss the terms under which he would allow access. This is a standard arrangement and the deal typically is that the field would be returned to the owner in its original condition. Developer makes a bit of money, where otherwise he wouldn’t; homeowners in the adjoining estate are less inconvenienced; builder does not need to spend money cleaning the streets and getting them back to a usable state at the end of the project. Win-win.

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